Fifteensquared

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Independent 6898 by Radian

Posted by NealH on November 24th, 2008

NealH.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone

This was mostly fairly easy, but had a couple of clues that I struggled to understand even after I’d got the answer. My only criticism would be that there was perhaps a slight overuse of the alternate letters style of clue, which can be quite effective when it crops up occasionally as a surprise tactic but becomes regulation when it appears three times in the same puzzle. Having said that, the idea of having a NINA and making use of it in one of the clues was quite novel.

Across
8 Lichee: Ich (German for “I”) in lee.
9 Upheaval: Up + heal around Va.
10 Simmer: I think this is Sim + mer, Sim being the actor Alistair Sim and “mer” the French word for sea. However, that leaves “nearly all cooks” as the definition, which seems more like a piece of wordplay than a proper definition.
11 Explorer: Ex + PLO + re + r.
12 Eggs: E.g. + g[a]s.
14 Emblematic: [som]e + mb (millibar) + climate*.
16 Mash: Hidden in Christmas holidays. Good surface, although bangers and mash wouldn’t be most people’s idea of festive fare.
19 Cooks: OK in cos + a reference to various TV cooks who crop up in the bottom half of the puzzle.
20 Alga: Hidden in special gastronomic.
22 Hierarchic: H + I + rare* + chic.
24 Room: Roo + m.
26 Strimmer: Tr in simmer. The Tr refers to the country of Turkey rather than the bird.
28 Armpit: (rita + mp)* + a neat cryptic definition for armpit.
29 Dietetic: i in (tide etc)*.
30 Seared: Red Sea with the two parts exchanged.
Down
1 Biting: Big around nit<. I always struggle with “nit” for egg because I think of the nit as being the insect itself rather than the egg. “Big” for elder (as in big brother) didn’t occur to me straightaway either.
2 Thomas: (to mash)* (mash being the answer to 16). I don’t know who the Thomas referenced in the clue is. It doesn’t appear to be one of the chefs listed in 19 across, so must be some other chef named Thomas but I can’t think of anyone. Update. Refers to Thomas Cook, the travel agent.
3 George: Ge or ge (Hobson’s choice because the two alternatives are the same). This one required a bit of research to understand. Ge is a Greek goddess, better known nowadays as Gaia.
4 Fume: alternate letters in “Four meet”.
5 Chapters: Search* around pt.
6 Panorama: Panama around OR.
7 Layering: early* + in g.
13 Gas: Odd letters of “grass”.
15 Broth: A reference to the proverb “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. “Too many” appears as a NINA on the third row of the grid.
17 Alistair: This is another one I got fairly quickly but didn’t really understand until later. Darling is obviously Alistair Darling, the Chancellor. The other bit is a reference to the late journalist Alistair Cooke, with the S of cooks being changed to an E.
18 Harriott: (hot air)* around r + [a]t.
19 Chromite: (the micro)*.
21 Loo: Odd letters of “alcohol” – definitely the best of the three alternate letter clues.
23 Coarse: hom. of “course”.
24 Ramsay: Three clues, I think. I’m not sure if the first just means Ramsay as a male first name or if it alludes to Gordon Ramsay (perhaps Gordon = man’s name). The second is a hom. of the town of Ramsey and the third is the British Prime Minister, Ramsay Macdonald. Update. Refers to Ramsey in the Isle of Man.
25 Oliver: O + liver. I’m not quite sure why you need the “organic” in the clue, other than to make it sound more like something Jamie Oliver would pursue.
27 Rick: Rice with E replaced by K.

7 Responses to “Independent 6898 by Radian”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Neal

    I took 2dn as being Thomas Cook

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    With 10ac I read this as an indirect definition, ie ‘nearly all cooks’ giving cook = simmer. I suppose it could be read as word play, giving SIMMER[s].
    25dn The liver is an organ, so liver is organic meat!

  3. Eileen says:

    Forgot to say – I think ‘Man’s’ in 24dn refers to Ramsey being on the Isle of Man.

  4. NealH says:

    Ah, yes, I checked that there was a town called Ramsey but didn’t look where it was.

  5. nmsindy says:

    I found this very tough, mainly because of not being very familiar with the celebrity chefs. It was a nice touch to use other meanings of COOK and the TOO MANY and these came to me only late in solving the puzzle.

    One very slight niggle in 24 which delayed me was that the ‘proclaimed’ in the middle would seem to mean the homophone could apply to either part and I wrote RAMSEY in first only correcting it later after getting crossing words.

  6. eimi says:

    A brief point of information to explain the timing of this:
    Thomas Cook and Alistair Cooke were born in late November 200 and 100 years ago respectively. Less significantly, explorer Captain James Cook was also born in November 280 years ago.

  7. Richard says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle. I found the top LH corner a bit harder than the rest, but was aided in completeing this when I spotted the “TOO MANY” Nina. Many thanks, Radian.

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